These Stand-up Airplane Seats Look Like a Roller Coaster Ride

Skyrider standing seats
Photo: Courtesy of Avio Interiors

For everyone who ever fancied riding a unicycle from New York City to Miami, or from Los Angeles to San Francisco — at 30,000 feet in the air — we have found the perfect seat.

Worried about legroom onboard? No more! Stretch your legs all you want. You’ll have no pressure on your knees from the seat in front of you when you're nearly standing up.

Skyrider standing seats
Courtesy of Avio Interiors

Aviointeriors, a seat manufacturer based in Italy, has updated their stand-up seating concept that has been floating around for years (but which no airline has bought yet). The SkyRider 2.0 is the smart and modern stand-up seating solution for tomorrow’s aircraft.

So what does the SkyRider 2.0 have over the original SkyRider? As the manufacturer explains, “Ultra-high density.” In lay terms, that means these seats could fit even more people on planes.

Aviointeriors says SkyRider 2.0 “ensures an increased upright passenger position, allowing installation of the seat at a reduced pitch, while maintaining an adequate comfort.” (Your own definition of “adequate” may vary.)

The saddle is so narrow that the domed container below, which holds tightly-folded life jackets, has become a prominent design feature instead of an invisible element of the seat.

On the plus side, the arm rests on these beauties are far more generous than some of the armrests we’re seeing on new economy light seats that are actually taking off. More good news: “The design of this seat enables to increase the passenger number by 20 percent allowing increasing profits for airline companies. Furthermore, Sky Rider 2.0 weighs 50 percent less than standard economy class seats and the reduced number of components enable minimum maintenance costs,” Aviointeriors claims.

Skyrider standing seats
Courtesy of Avio Interiors

The company revealed the SkyRider 2.0 at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, which is an event targeted at airline buyers, and not at the flying public. In an ideal world, interests of both airline buyers and passengers should overlap, but here in the real world, that's not always the case.

For the show, the company dressed the new Sky Rider 2.0 in Ryanair colors, and that’s not a coincidence.

Around the time that the first version of the saddle seats debuted, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary joked that he would consider having people fly standing up. But this was just another in a series of O’Leary’s headline grabbers. Ryanair has standard seats on planes, and has announced no plans to launch a stand-up saddle class.

Experts in aircraft seating give the SkyRider side-eye. Just for a start, there are questions of safety if passengers are standing up during an accident. Overhead bin space would get smaller, as regulations require vertical clearance between passengers’ heads and the hard surface above, in case of turbulence. And there’s no room for stowing personal items under the saddle seat.

Aviointeriors doesn’t spend all of its time re-designing a seat no one buys. They also make very comfortable economy, business, and first class aircraft seats for airlines. You know, just to keep the business going while they wait for the SkyRider to take off.

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